March a Hot One, But Not Everywhere

Data shows that globally, March was the 16th warmest on record, making it the coolest since 1999.

Published on: May 8, 2012

Talk about a dichotomy of a picture. While March set more than 15,000 temperature records for the United States, in the grand scheme of things global temperatures were the lowest they'd been since 1999. That earned the month a No. 16 on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration rating of global warmth.

While it was warm in North America, there was off-setting coolness in other part of the world. That record, by the way, is for land-measured temperatures - no satellite data.

A key feature to look at for that March data is the continued weakening of the La Nina event, which NOAA expected to dissipate by the end of April (while know more come June).

March a Hot One, But Not Everywhere
March a Hot One, But Not Everywhere

According to the March global temperature report, the combined average temperatures over global land and ocean surfaces for March was 16th warmest with 55.73 degrees F as average, or about .83 degrees F above the 20th Century average.

Here are some other key highlights from that report:

The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for the first three months of the year (January–March) period was 0.70°F above the 20th century average of 54.1°F, tying with 1991 as the 21st warmest such period on record and the coolest since 1996. The margin of error is plus or minus 0.16°F.

The January - March worldwide land surface temperature was 0.95°F above the 20th century average of 38.5°F, the 27th warmest such period on record and the coolest since 1996. The margin of error is +/-0.40°F. The global ocean surface temperature for the year to date was 0.61°F above the 20th century average of 60.6°F, tying with 1995 as the 14th warmest such period on record and the coolest since 2008. The margin of error is +/10.07F.°

And while sea ice has diminished in the Arctic - 3.4% below average - the Antarctic shows the largest amount of sea ice in the 34-year period of record, up 16%.

All in all, March was an interesting weather month.